Come to me all you who labor and are burdened

Homily for the Fourteenth Sunday of Year A

by Fr. Tommy Lane

Some people are blaming God for the bad weather and are angry with God. God does not send us anything bad. God only sends us what is good. If you turn from God because of bad weather or because of any other crisis that comes upon you, to whom will you then turn? God is the only one who can help you through any situation. (story of weather changed through prayer) Unfortunately some people are turning to New Age practices, and to practices like palm reading, tarot card reading and all sorts of other practices for solutions to life’s problems. They should know not to expect good to come if they dabble in such practices. Turning to such people for advice is the same as saying that you no longer believe God is in control of your life. Either such people and their powers are in control of your life or God is in control of your life. Decide for God. In our second reading we heard,

“there is no necessity for us to obey our unspiritual selves or to live unspiritual lives. If you do live in that way, you are doomed to die; but if by the Spirit you put an end of the misdeeds of the body you will live.” (Rom 8:12-13)

God is stronger than all pagan practices. Decide for God. Remember the first commandment, “I am the Lord your God, you shall have no strange gods before me.” (True story of one person who turned from such practices)

When I was on retreat last week, at one mealtime the person next to me shared what she heard from her sister who is working in Nigeria. A Nigerian Catholic picked up a patient from hospital. I don’t know the religion of the patient but on the way home the patient wanted to visit a witch doctor. The driver consented. That was bad enough but the driver also let curiosity get the better of himself so he went into the witch doctor’s house to watch the proceedings with the patient. The witchdoctor asked the patient to shake a bunch of stones in his closed hand and throw them on a mat on the floor. The witchdoctor would then give judgment based on the arrangement of the stones on the mat. Instead of spreading out as you would expect all the stones landed together in a heap on the center of the mat so that the witch doctor was unable to read them. The patient was asked to shake and throw the stones again. The same thing happened. Again a third time the witch doctor asked the patient to shake and throw the stones. It happened again. This time the witchdoctor said, “There is a higher power than me working here. Empty out everything you both have in your pockets.” The Catholic driver took a Rosary beads from his pocket. The witchdoctor said, “That is it, that is what is blocking my power. Get you both out of here and don’t ever again come back.” If you turn from God because of any crisis that comes upon you, to whom will you then turn? God is the only one who can help you through any situation. (more stories on the power of the Rosary)

In our Gospel today Jesus says,

“Come to me all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 25:28)

When you need rest and spiritual advice, choose carefully. Choose God and not someone who is not of God. You go on holidays every year. Why not consider going on holidays with God in a pilgrimage or retreat. One person who went to Međugorje (Medjugorje) last year said to me she found such peace there it was like stepping off the world. Jesus says, “Come to me all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.”

What do you do to rest? Listening to the radio all day long or watching TV all evening will not bring you rest. It will fill your mind with thoughts and you will not have room in your mind for God or spiritual matters. There should be a health warning on radios and TVs. Listening to radio all day long or watching TV all evening will block God out from your life. (see stories about TV) When you want rest, go the Lord in prayer. In the Gospel today Jesus says, “Come to me all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.” In our second reading we heard, “Your interests are not in the unspiritual, but in the spiritual, since the Spirit of God has made his home in you.” I am fully convinced that we should all spend a few hours in prayer every day. I have spoken to you several times before about the importance of praying every day and I will continue to do so because a good parent does not tell something to a child only once but reminds the child again and again and you all call me ‘Father’ because I am a spiritual father to you.

When a crisis comes upon you remember the Rosary beads in Africa. Do not abandon God by following pagan practices, turn to the Lord with more prayer than ever. In the second reading we heard Paul write to the Romans, “Your interests are not in the unspiritual, but in the spiritual, since the Spirit of God has made his home in you.” Jesus says, “Come to me all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.”

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013

This homily was delivered when I was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

More homilies for the Fourteenth Sunday Year A

Come to Jesus: His Yoke is Easy and Light 2008